SANTIAGO DE LOS CABALLEROS, Dominican Republic – Jamaica’s Portmore United will be making its second straight appearance in the CONCACAF Caribbean Club Championship, when it opens play in the 2018 edition on Wednesday against two-time champion Central FC at the Estadio Cibao FC.
PMU, which finished third last year to earn a place in the 2017 Scotiabank CONCACAF League, has lifted the Caribbean trophy once, prevailing over Suriname’s Robinhood in the 2005 final (agg: 5-2).
Founded as Hazard United in 1982 -- and renamed in 2003 -- Portmore United has been one of Jamaica’s footballing success stories. In 2017, the club participated in the Scotiabank CONCACAF U13 Champions League in Toluca, Mexico, and competed in the inaugural Scotiabank CONCACAF League.
CONCACAF.com takes a look at one of the Caribbean’s top clubs:
Official Name: Portmore United FC
Titles: Premier League Champion-5 (1992/93, 2002/03, 2004/05, 2007/08, 2011/12)
Head Coach: Shavar Thomas (36-years-old, Jamaica
Key Players: FW Javon East 22); FW/MF Maalique Foster (21); MF Ewan Grandison (26); MF Ricardo Morris (26); GK Shaven Paul (26)
Portmore United currently sits atop the 2017/18 Red Stripe Premier League with a 16-W-5D-4L record, scoring a league-best 52 goals and conceding a league-low 17. Forward Javon East is second on the scoring chart with 13 goals, top behind Fabian Reid of Arnett Gardens, which earned a spot in the Caribbean Club Championship finals on Sunday.
Shavar Thomas’ side is experienced and balanced, containing five current Jamaica internationals, including attacker Maalique Foster, who scored on his debut in a 2-2 draw with Korea Republic on January 30, 2018. Middfielders Ewan Grandison and Ricardo Morris both appeared in one game as the Reggae Boyz finished as runner-up in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
PMU has excellent team chemistry and pays close attention to details. Its ability to recover physically with a day between CCC games will be something to watch.
Head coach Shavar Thomas on Portmore United’s 2018 CCC goals:
“Our objectives are to advance out of the round, so that we can set ourselves up to be in the thick of things in the crucial stage of the competition’